Niki D'Andrea, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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The Arizona State Fair has hosted concerts at Veterans Memorial Coliseum since the 1960s, including such vaunted performers as Willie Nelson (1976), The Police (1980), Johnny Cash (1982) and Neil Young (1988). This year’s 14-show concert series features brooding Brits, country boys and hammer pants. Here are our picks for acts that can help you wrap up a long day of roller coasters and deep-fried snacks on sticks. Country Concerts Various Dates Billy Currington, Trace...

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#1: John Jorgenson at Musical Instrument Museum, January 22

Multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson’s gypsy jazz guitar might remind you of the great Django Reinhardt, and in fact, he portrayed Reinhardt in the 2004 movie “Head in the Clouds” starring Charlize Theron. He’ll bring his talented quartet to MIM for a pristine-sounding performance of gypsy jazz, with maybe just the slightest touch of bluegrass. $38.50-$45.50. 7 p.m. January 22 at Musical Instrument Museum. mim.org

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The relatively new MATCH restaurant opened inside FOUND:RE hotel in Downtown Phoenix late last year, and has quickly become a destination for locals, who praise its stylish surrounds and ever-changing menus from Executive Chef Akos Szabo.

The Feel: Hipper than the first Lollapalooza festival. Feast your eyes on a giant painting by local artist Randy Slack of a young Burt Reynolds naked on a bearskin rug behind the reception desk before walking around the corner to ultra chic MATCH, with its long and loaded bar, wall of wine, floor-to-ceiling windows and modern minimalist design.

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#1: Dr. Ordovich’s Grand Exhibition at Alwun House, January 14:
Randall De Souza Clarkson is a world-traveling musician and illustrator – and now, he’s “Dr. Ordovich” for his latest multimedia project, a 27-song concept album and book inspired by his journeys through Mexico, the West Indies, Brazil and Ireland. This exhibition includes live performances augmented by circus-style sideshow acts. $9 in advance, $14 at the door. 7 p.m. January 14 at Alwun House. alwunhouse.org

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only 19 states provided funding for arts education grant programs in 2016. That’s just 38 percent of the country, and it shows the downward trend for arts programs in public schools; three years ago, “U.S. News” reported that since 2008, funds for schools had been cut in more than 80 percent of school districts – and arts programs are usually among the first curricular victims of budget cuts.

The importance of visual and performing arts programs – particularly music education – has been emphasized by everyone from educators and celebrities to scientists and students. Nonprofits and fundraising drives have appeared all over the country, including arts programs-deprived Arizona (which does not require credits in the arts for high school graduation, and does not require schools provide arts programs to be accredited). One of the local people trying to make a difference is Phoenix filmmaker Matty Steinkamp, creative director of Sundawg Media. He filmed and interviewed musicians, music educators, and students from all over the world for the documentary “Play,” to showcase the importance and magic of music in peoples’ lives. Among them are local music producer Bob Hoag, Phoenix-based musician Henri Bernard, and Nate Anderson of nonprofits Ear Candy and Little Kids Rock.

“Play: The Documentary” has screened in theaters around the U.S., and Steinkamp uses the screenings to raise funds for music education programs, and to provide instruments to schools. “Play” will show at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert on January 11, and all profits will go to the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education of the East Valley (event details here ).
We recently caught up with Steinkamp to talk more about the movie and music education.

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For years, Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix has been known as the city’s main arts district. The area along Roosevelt Street from Seventh Street to Seventh Avenue once housed innumerable local art galleries, but over the past several years, many galleries have closed and many artists have left the neighborhood as developers construct new housing and rents rise. That’s one reason local creative Pete Petrisko thinks Roosevelt Row (aka “RoRo”) needs to stop being called an “Arts District” and be rebranded as a “Luxury Living & Good Eats” district.

Just prior to the First Friday art walk on Roosevelt Row in December, Petrisko designed a field guide and several rebranding stickers. The field guide was distributed at local venues, and nearly a hundred “Luxury Living & Good Eats” stickers were affixed to utility poles. We recently spoke with Petrisko regarding his rebrand project, which will be visible this First Friday in January.

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